A Second Helping collects leftover items from vacationers leaving Brunswick County beaches

Updated: May. 29, 2021 at 5:04 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Have you ever reached the end of your vacation and realized that you have a lot of extra food or non-food items like soaps, paper plates, or paper towels? Several beaches in Brunswick County have volunteer organizations called A Second Helping that collects those items and donates them back to the community.

“We’ve got all these tourists that come in town — why not leave your food with us on your way back home,” said Rebecca Powell, co-founder of A Second Helping OIB. “It’s a way to pay it forward in the community.”

A Second Helping in Ocean Isle Beach has grown from a very small group of people to now around 50 volunteers and three different drop stations.

Doug Cottrell, who organizes A Second Helping in Holden Beach, said they have also seen growth since it was founded by Bill Spier back in 2005.

“It’s grown from an idea to an average of a thousand, 12-hundred pounds each Saturday morning,” he said. “The idea that Mr. Spier had in the beginning was that people would leave when the houses turn on Saturdays and didn’t have anything to do with their leftovers.”

He says about two-thirds of what they collect is food.

“We get tremendous amount of condiments, hot dogs, hamburgers, lots of wonderful produce—it’s amazing how much products we get,” Cotrell said. “It’s a little bit of everything that you’d buy to have in your refrigerator when you’re on vacation.”

The other third are items like soaps, ziplock bags, or aluminum foil.

The volunteer organization at Holden Beach has a close relationship with the rental companies in the area. One house in particular has been known for it’s donations after visitors spend a long week at the beach.

“We have a house that’s 15 bedrooms and sometimes they’ll show up here with an SUV and truck full of stuff and then have to go home and pack up to leave and we’ll get over 100 pounds out of one house of people on vacation,” Cottrell said.

A Second Helping in Holden Beach donates its food items to Loaves and Fishes pantry of Brunswick Islands Baptist Church. It’s non-food items go to the Brunswick Christian Recovery Center.

A Second Helping OIB donates what it collects to Brunswick Family Assistance.

“We are very blessed to live on an island but at the same time there’s other parts of this pocket of the county that are not so fortunate and we need to remember them,” Powell said. “I don’t think anyone should go to bed hungry at night.”

“Not too far off the beach there’s a considerable amount of poverty and people in need and a pantry to support that,” Cottrell said. “What we gather we take to the pantry and then they have a two-day a week open facility for people to go in a receive what we donate.”

There is A Second Helping organization in Holden, Ocean Isle and Sunset Beaches. Saturday kicked off the season for each location, and they will collect goods every Saturday morning through Labor Day weekend.

Click here for more information on drop-off sites for each location.

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